Consider what should have been going on in Lawrence this week and would have been going on if it had not been for the insatiable desire of Kansas University Athletic Department officials for more money.
The historic Kansas-Missouri football game was scheduled to be played in Lawrence this year. At the time the schedules were worked out, no one had any idea the game would turn into one of the nation's top games of the season. Regardless, KU officials were willing to give up the traditional game and the home field advantage in order to make a few more bucks.
Coach Mark Mangino and a couple of players have said they don't mind the game being moved, but this isn't surprising inasmuch as Lew Perkins, the boss of KU athletics, wanted the game in Kansas City. What do you expect them to say? However, KU quarterback Todd Reesing did say it would have been nice to have played before a sellout crows in Memorial Stadium.
Guess who's really making the bucks? KU and Missouri both are said to have received a guarantee of $1 million, but consider the revenue for the Kansas City Chiefs or Jackson County or Kansas City, Mo., from a sell-out crowd of approximately 78,000, plus all concession revenues, parking fees and tax revenues. Added to this is the financial bonanza for Kansas City restaurants, bars, motels and retail shops that will cash in on the biggest shopping period of the year - the weekend after Thanksgiving.
National media attention is being focused on Kansas City and Arrowhead Stadium, attention that advertising dollars cannot buy.
All of this - the excitement of the game, the home field advantage, the thrill for KU players to play their final regular season game before a packed Memorial Stadium crowd, the revenues that local and area businesses would have enjoyed, local sales tax revenue and the national attention focused on Lawrence, Kansas and the University, with its beautiful campus and scenic stadium - has been handed over to Kansas City, purely for dollars and cents. It's nothing but a hard-nosed business deal for Kansas City.
There isn't much sense of loyalty among far too many at KU. KU officials have tried to imply studies about the economic losses Lawrence and Kansas will suffer really are not accurate or important. They suggest the substitution of four cupcake nonconference games in Memorial Stadium more than makes up for taking the Missouri game away from Lawrence.
Wonder what Columbia, Mo., residents and city officials will say next year when it is their turn to lose the MU-KU home game to Kansas City. What if it should turn out to be another season-ending game with national rankings and post-season bowl games riding on the outcome?
Perhaps someday, loyalty, year-in and year-out support, and true mutual respect and help will mean something, but such thinking is lacking today among many at KU.
It's all about money and trying to please, or make, friends in Kansas City.